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Table_5_Bilingual Mandarin-English preschoolers’ spoken narrative skills and contributing factors: A remote online story-retell study.docx (29.53 kB)

Table_5_Bilingual Mandarin-English preschoolers’ spoken narrative skills and contributing factors: A remote online story-retell study.docx

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posted on 2022-10-14, 13:19 authored by Jingdan Yang, Jae-Hyun Kim, Outi Tuomainen, Nan Xu Rattanasone

This study examined the spoken narrative skills of a group of bilingual Mandarin–English speaking 3–6-year-olds (N = 25) in Australia, using a remote online story-retell task. Bilingual preschoolers are an understudied population, especially those who are speaking typologically distinct languages such as Mandarin and English which have fewer structural overlaps compared to language pairs that are typologically closer, reducing cross-linguistic positive transfer. We examined these preschoolers’ spoken narrative skills as measured by macrostructures (the global organization of a story) and microstructures (linguistic structures, e.g., total number of utterances, nouns, verbs, phrases, and modifiers) across and within each language, and how various factors such as age and language experiences contribute to individual variability. The results indicate that our bilingual preschoolers acquired spoken narrative skills similarly across their two languages, i.e., showing similar patterns of productivity for macrostructure and microstructure elements in both of their two languages. While chronological age was positively correlated with macrostructures in both languages (showing developmental effects), there were no significant correlations between measures of language experiences and the measures of spoken narrative skills (no effects for language input/output). The findings suggest that although these preschoolers acquire two typologically diverse languages in different learning environments, Mandarin at home with highly educated parents, and English at preschool, they displayed similar levels of oral narrative skills as far as these macro−/micro-structure measures are concerned. This study provides further evidence for the feasibility of remote online assessment of preschoolers’ narrative skills.

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